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September 21, 2016

Is This Something?

There are a lot of sci-fi stories about Century Ships, ships that travel at sublight speeds to distant stars, taking, well, centuries to arrive. Passengers and crew are either kept in suspended animation for the trip, or, in the Generation Ship version, they live out their lives on the ship, giving birth to children, who themselves grow up and give birth to more children, who give birth to another generation -- and then six or seven generations of ship-bound people later, they finally land on the planet.

That's the plan, anyway. In stories about such ships, there's always a problem, naturally.

My favorite problem -- and I have no idea who did this first, as it's been done a lot -- is where the mission is forgotten by the tenth generation or whatnot, and computer memory banks have been knocked out by a meteor or something, so you have 10,000 people on a ship not knowing why they're there, inventing myths to explain how the Steel World was created, and frequently conducting Raids against the enemy tribes of the Steel World.

Oh, I looked it up: Apparently the first entry in that genre was Brian Aldiss' Non-Stop (also called Starship), first published in 1958, and his first novel.

Imma read that this weekend if it's on Kindle.

Update: Commenters tell me Heinlein got there first, with a novel called Orphans of the Sky, an expanded version of an earlier story called "Universe." It also features the passengers of a generation ship degenerated into barbarism and mysticism, having no idea they're on a space vessel at all.


But anyway, there are a lot of written stories about such ships, but few movies.

Well, Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence are rectifying that in the new movie Passengers, in which, get thisl there's a problem with the Century ship, and they alone are awoken out of suspended animation 9 years too early, and now have to kill nine years before their arrival.

Okay, Imma get that one too.

If they arrive at all. Because, get this, there are further problems too, which the trailer suggests without explaining the nature of the problem.

Eh, I'd give it a shot.

Ever notice we have a lot of "science fiction" movies without one genuine trope of science-fiction, other than "In the future, all people will fight with robots and armored vilians a lot? And also, a Chosen One will have SuperPowers of some kind?"


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posted by Ace at 08:30 PM

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